Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Poverty at the Gold Mine

Last night (Tuesday, August 21), PBS aired a documentary entitled "Gold Futures" about the environmental controversy surrounding a proposed gold mine in the small village of Rosia Montana, Romania. The program apparently leaves the impression that, although there are a few villagers who are in favor of the mine, most residents of Rosia Montana don't want it.

This is the same controversy examined by another documentary "Mine Your Own Business," whose South Carolina premier will occur September 5th in Charleston. "Mine Your Own Business" is an unapologetic look at "the dark side of environmentalism." It comes to a very different conclusion.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, John Fund noted that, unlike "Gold Futures," "Mine Your Own Business" is a film that "will never be shown on PBS, but is nonetheless rattling the environmental community...[it] is a documentary by Irish filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney. They conclude that the biggest threat to the people of Rosia Montana "'comes from upper-class Western environmentalism that seeks to keep them poor and unable to clean up the horrific pollution caused by Ceausescu's mining.'"

Ultimately, the debate about the future of Rosia Montana is a debate between those who believe human freedom and prosperity are more desirable than external control and poverty, and those who believe with religious fervor that poverty is a price worth paying to preserve the environmental status quo. So long as someone else pays it.

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